Simon Coates: I think it was about seven years ago; I was in a bookshop, and I saw a book written in the style of a tabloid newspaper, reporting on events from the beginning of time. Imagine The Sun reporting on the Big Bang! It was really funny and it gave me an idea. Why not write a newspaper not reporting on past events, but on future events? So I thought about what life might be like in the 24th century, and from there I launched an online newspaper - the Galactic Echo! However it sort of died a bit as it didn't go anywhere; about 18 months ago I relaunched it, and started writing actual stories relating to this future, and the Galactic Echo was reborn. I am inspired because, to be honest, it is just plain good fun!
LBBB: How long did it take for you to write your first book?
S.C.: My first proper paperback is Bike Racing into the Red, which was written after I rode in the British National hill climb championship in 2013. It took I think about a month, I can't remember exactly as it wasn't done in one go. My latest book, The Discovery of love, took eight days. Yes I was surprised as well!
LBBB: How do you come up with ideas for your stories?
S.C.: That is the easy part. I base all my stories on an event that can only happen in my future existence in the 24th century, and from there the stories just come out. For example, with Bike Racing into the Red, it is the story of an amateur bike racer who takes on the 240 mile hill climb of Olympus Mons. In my future, I have suggested we live on Planet Mars. Mars has the highest mountain in the known universe, Olympus Mons, so it is obvious we would have an extreme hill climb race up it; just like we have extreme sport events today such as the Race Across America or the Tour de France.
LBBB: What is your writing routine like? Do you have a set schedule or are you flexible?
S.C.: No routine; I just get on with it when I fancy. However at the moment I am heavily involved with promoting it, so most weekends I am doing something to this end. At the moment I am working with a fabulous artist for my next books; so ultimately, writing is only one part of the whole package.
LBBB: What inspires you to write?
S.C.: It is just good fun really. My dream is to make it my career so bearing in mind I have a job that is by no means a perfect job, I am inspired by the goal of leaving and doing something I love. I couldn't imagine life without writing.
LBBB: Are any of your stories written from personal experience, or any character traits that mirror yours?
S.C.: Yes, absolutely, the bike story especially. I have ridden National Championships so ride at a high level. The main character is very obviously me in the future I suppose! He even does a race that I do, which is an event near Hull.
LBBB: When in a slump, what do you do? If you read or listen to music, what are your go-to books or music?
S.C.: I do writing related things. I find it gives me great pleasure so when I am down it immediately gives me happiness as I know I am on a journey I want to be on, to become a full time writer.
LBBB: How do you respond to negative feedback/comments with your work?
S.C.: Well if it is constructive, then I take it on board. When I was at the very start, someone commented on the mistakes in my writing, and suggested a proof reader, which I now have. Other people go too far and take the pi** which I tend to ignore. So far I have heard no bad things about my actual stories which is fantastic I suppose and proves I must be doing something right!
LBBB: What is your writing space like? Do you work anywhere or do you have a special place just for your writing? Messy or clean?
S.C.: No, nothing more remarkable than my PC. I don't usually physically write with a pen, typing straight into a computer is my preferred method.
LBBB: Do you have a favorite author? Series?
S.C.: Well funnily enough I don't read! I find I don't gain inspiration from others. Of course being in the writing world I am meeting fellow authors and helping them by buying their books, but as for a favorite, no I don't have one.
LBBB: Any fur-babies?
S.C.: Pets? No although I am an animal lover.
LBBB: Thanks for joining us this week, Simon, and letting us pick your author brain!